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$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Betterby Christopher Steiner
Most books about Earth's dwindling natural resources leave me too discouraged to read beyond the jacket blurb. Not this one! Twenty Dollars Per Gallon is a refreshingly positive take on the effect that peak oil will have on civilization. It does lean toward the exuberantly optimistic, but what good is negativity (however realistic) if its hopelessness inspires fatalism instead of action? Instead, Steiner points out what we have to look forward to and discusses how we can start preparing now.
Synopses & Reviews
Imagine an everyday world in which the price of gasoline (and oil) continues to go up, and up, and up. Think about the immediate impact that would have on our lives.
Of course, everybody already knows how about gasoline has affected our driving habits. People can't wait to junk their gas-guzzling SUVs for a new Prius. But there are more, not-so-obvious changes on the horizon that Chris Steiner tracks brilliantly in this provocative work.
Consider the following societal changes: people who own homes in far-off suburbs will soon realize that there's no longer any market for their houses (reason: nobody wants to live too far away because it's too expensive to commute to work). Telecommuting will begin to expand rapidly. Trains will become the mode of national transportation (as it used to be) as the price of flying becomes prohibitive. Families will begin to migrate southward as the price of heating northern homes in the winter is too pricey. Cheap everyday items that are comprised of plastic will go away because of the rising price to produce them (plastic is derived from oil). And this is just the beginning of a huge and overwhelming domino effect that our way of life will undergo in the years to come.
Steiner, an engineer by training before turning to journalism, sees how this simple but constant rise in oil and gas prices will totally re-structure our lifestyle. But what may be surprising to readers is that all of these changes may not be negative &mdah; but actually will usher in some new and very promising aspects of our society.
Steiner will probe how the liberation of technology and innovation, triggered by climbing gas prices, will change our lives. The book may start as an alarmist's exercise.... but don't be misled. The future will be exhilarating.
"According to Steiner, senior staff reporter at Forbes magazine, surging fuel prices will transform Americans' daily lives almost beyond recognition. With traditional energy sources disappearing and global demand soaring, the U.S. will confront gas prices rocketing to $6, $8, $14 and beyond — prices that will compel sweeping changes in everything from urban planning to food production. He reveals the consequences of each incremental hike in gas prices: at $8 per gallon, air travel will essentially vanish; at $14 a gallon, Wal-Mart stores will become empty 'ghost boxes'; when gas hits $16 a gallon, sushi will become an extravagance only for the extremely wealthy. While many changes will come at tremendous social and economic cost, Steiner envisions a better future, where human ingenuity will spur greater efficiency and less waste. Although it's unlikely all the author's predictions will come true — he goes so far as to forecast the order in which airlines will go out of business — the surprising snapshots of the future (where rising gas prices might revitalize Detroit) make for vivid and compelling reading. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
There's no question that the rising cost of gasoline is already changing the way people live, but the real question is just how different will their lives really become — and will their everyday existence be affected for better or for worse?
In this timely expose, Forbes writer Steiner examines how the rising cost of gasoline is already changing our social and cultural existence, and that we may be on the brink of a new, exciting, and exhilarating new era.
About the Author
Chris Steiner is a senior staff reporter at Forbes magazine; one of three writers in the
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